Shahiba is your not-so typical 23-year old; she is a Political Science post-graduate, an artisan crafting - woven home/lifestyle products and embroidered clothes, and most of all, is an aspiring entrepreneur. In spite of completing her higher education, she was unable to pursue other careers because of sociocultural barriers which prevented her from working, especially outside the walls of her home. Yet, she is now making big strides at Sirohi. Her journey with Sirohi began last year when our team member ran into her father - a glass trader, at his shop. While she was already making intricately embroidered clothes, when offered a work-from-home opportunity to leverage and develop the weaving skills she's inherited - Shahiba took it.
Shahiba has worked with Sirohi as an artisan, a cluster head - managing the work of several other artisans associated with Sirohi, but also as a designer. She supported us in developing our weaving catalogue including over 20 different patterns. And although she has to work from home (and within a system of barriers), she continues to find ways to empower herself - by making creations of her own, earning up to 15,000 rupees per month and even taking on leadership positions within our organization. She learns and she leads and she learns. We were interested in making macramé planters, however, it was a craft Shahiba was not particularly skilled or experienced in. Taking it upon herself to make this product, she found the right Youtube tutorials and worked with inputs from our team through virtual calls and 3D designs to make these products. Now, she overlooks the macrame products crafted by other artisans in her cluster and also uses Pinterest to find new designs.
She even has her own Instagram account and every time she takes a look at Sirohi’s vibrant feed - she is filled with a sense of pride that her work is reaching and being appreciated by so many people. Seeing this, we are supporting her to learn the ropes of online channels such as Facebook Marketplace and Instagram to sell her products independently, beyond Sirohi. Her ultimate goal is to open her very own boutique at home, and through Sirohi, we hope to bring her closer to this dream one step at a time.
When she first joined Shahiba was hesitant about joining video calls with us and now, she is even giving interviews - sharing her story. In fact, in a recent interview she mentioned her hope that all young girls and women are inspired to learn that “you must work.” As she continues to inspire all of us, we’re already beginning to see a positive shift in those around her too. While Shahiba is proud to be earning for herself, she is also happy to see that many women are beginning to do the same. Women from her community who face similar barriers are stepping up to work-from-home with Sirohi and are leveraging technology to make new well-designed products. Through craft - Shahiba hopes to design a future of financial independence for herself and many women!